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Solar energy to power homes

Solar panels on top of the state secretariat.
Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 16: The housing and urban development department has recommended steps to cut down on electricity consumption by planning to make solar water heating and lighting systems mandatory in private houses and offices across the state capital.

Housing department sources said the Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (Oreda) had been asked to prepare a draft proposal to facilitate necessary amendments to frame bylaws.

In September, the department had proposed an amendment of the bylaws to promote solar energy as an alternative source of energy. The technical aspects of solar water heating and lighting systems for buildings were discussed at a meeting on September 24.

The department is planning to come out with a notification in this regard. The necessary amendment to the bylaws for buildings and houses within Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation limits will be made in 2013-14.

Sources said some states had already amended their building bylaws.

“States such as Maharashtra and Bengal have offered a discount of 10 per cent on property tax for those who opt for solar energy. States such as Rajasthan, Karnataka and Uttaranchal offer rebates on electricity tariff to encourage people to adopt solar energy,” said a senior official of the department. Oreda chief executive Anirudha Rout said they were working out the draft plan. “We will submit the draft report to the housing and urban development department through the science and technology department this week,” said Rout.

The science and technology department has also requested the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police to install solar traffic lights in five locations across the twin cities. The urban development department is also planning to save five per cent of the total electricity consumption on advertisements by switching to solar energy.

There is also a proposal to set up a solar photovoltaic power plant for charging telecommunication towers, which consume a considerable amount of diesel.